As back to school season kicks into high gear, retailers across the country are competing to fill students’ backpacks with supplies and adorn their dorm rooms with TV, mini-refrigerators, and other college-esque paraphernalia. Target just happens to be one of those retailers, and the big box store is upping its back to school game by opening smaller format stores, offering new pickup options, and hosting pop-up shops on campuses.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that after 15 years of busing college students to Target for special after-hours shopping events, the retailer is changing gears and coming to where the students are: campus.
Under Target’s previous college-targeting system, the retailer would bus students to stores for after-hour soirees where shoppers could pick up essentials while enjoying tunes from a DJ.
Instead of bringing students to stores, Target is now bringing the stores to students. The retailer is hosting two-day pop-up stores on college campuses, the Star Tribune reports.
The first such experiment will occur at University of North Carolina’s campus, where students can shop dorm decor and other items.
The pop-up shops, while offering a convenient way for students to grab necessities, also serves as an opportunity for Target to showcase its newer small-format stores, many of which are being built near college campuses.
Target recently opened at least two of the stores, which are around 20,000 square feet, near The University of Cincinnati and University of North Carolina. The company says it will provide complimentary rides — via Gotcha Ride — to and from the stores for students as the school year begins.
Target plans to open 30 new small-format stores by the end of 2017, doubling its presence in dense urban and suburban markets and on college campuses.
“Going off to college is a new life stage—students are making their own shopping decisions for the first time,” said Mark Schindele, senior vice president, Target Properties. “We want to help make students’ experiences fun and easy, serve up products and services they’ll love and show them the best that Target has to offer, so they become lifelong guests.”
Show Now, Pickup Later
The convenience of the newer, smaller stores has also given Target another avenue to meet shoppers’ demands. With shoppers increasingly spending time online, Target is now testing an online order and pickup service just for college students.
Through the service, students prepping for their college adventure can preorder products online from a curated list of 300 products, including sheets, mini-fridges, and other dorm room essentials, the Star Tribune reports.
When it’s time to move into the dorm — even weeks later — customers will be able to pickup their orders at the closest Target to campus.